US scientists say that a virtual pandemic of 2005 in the computer game World of Warcraft can help fight the disease of the coronavirus. According to scientists, simulation of epidemics in online games will simulate human behavior during real pandemics.
The online game World of Warcraft pandemic Corrupted Blood virus erupted on September 13, 2005, writes The Washington Post. Thousands of gamers have been devastated by the infection. The virus was transmitted if the players were close together, which corresponds to the current behavior of the coronavirus. The virtual epidemic began in the new Zul’Gurub area, where players had to battle a Hakkar creature that could cast their spell on Corrupted Blood. The goal was to add game dynamics and complexity, but the virus got out of control and infected players infected others in densely populated areas. At the same time, the behavior of gamers ten years ago was similar to what people now see.
“We have been watching closely not only our guild’s chat, but also the world, to understand where it is not necessary to go to get infected,” explained ex-WOW player Nadia Heller.
The game epidemic caught the attention of epidemiologist Dr. Nina Charles Fefferman, who also played in World of Warcraft. Together with Eric Lofgren, they investigated a virtual pandemic and summarized their findings in a 2007 article. Scientists have stated that the events in WOW can be used as one of the scenarios in the study of infectious diseases, because the behavior of gamers was very similar to the behavior of real people during the outbreak of infection.
Scientists say that while simulations and computer models are created, they do not take into account the unexpected actions and logic of real people. It is almost impossible to develop a controlled epidemic with the participation of living people. Therefore, the game was the perfect place to track and analyze the human factor. However, one should not forget that people are more brave in the game and are at risk because they can be resurrected.
Another scholar at the University of Southern California, Dr. Dmitry Williams, disagrees with Fefferman’s findings. He explains this by saying that certain games push people into behaviors that they may not resort to in real life.
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